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Damsel in a Dress launches wholesale

Premium womenswear brand Damsel in a Dress is to launch a wholesale collection for independent retailers.

Damsel in a Dress is designed by Alison Mansell, creator of the headline-grabbing grey polka-dot Marks & Spencer dress worn by Samantha Cameron, wife of Prime Minister David Cameron. It launched exclusively in John Lewis last February and has proved a huge success for the department store business.

The collection, which is built around contemporary day-to -evening dresses, targets the 30-plus consumer. Retail prices are about £79 for a silk cover-up ‘Molly Shrug’ top, and £249 for a double-breasted ‘Amber’ coat.

The brand is looking for about 50 indie stockists for spring 11 and has so far signed up indies including womenswear indie Franc in Bakewell, Derbyshire, and Cavells in Rutland. Agency Middleton Green will represent the brand.

Damsel in a Dress expects to turn over £4.5m in its first year to January 31 and reach break even, which has given the company confidence to plot further expansion via additional concessions and its website, which will go transactional next week.

Concessions will launch in Beales in Bournemouth and premium department store Fenwick in Canterbury and Colchester this spring.

Director Marshall Doctors said: “We’re trying to keep it reasonably niche in the UK. We’ve had various meetings with department stores but we are being selective.”

The brand will also open a standalone store in the UK in the autumn. Doctors said a site had not yet been chosen but that a market town would be a suitable location.

The business is also considering international expansion and is looking to sell the brand within Danish department store business Magasin du Nord, which is owned by Debenhams.

He added: “John Lewis will be the backbone of the business and the profit will come from our own stores and from sales on our website.”

For autumn 11, the brand will trial a petite-size range in 10 John Lewis stores. “There is not a great petite offering at the moment,” said Doctors.

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